Harry Christophers

Conductor

Harry Christophers

Harry Christophers is known internationally as founder and conductor of The Sixteen as well as a regular guest conductor for many of the major symphony orchestras and opera companies worldwide. He has directed The Sixteen and its orchestra, The Symphony of Harmony and Invention, throughout Europe, America and the Far East. He has performed at some of the world's most prestigious festivals including Salzburg, Mostly Mozart in New York, the BBC Promenade Concerts, the Prague Spring Festival and in Vienna's Musikverein, Sydney Opera House and Tokyo Opera City, gaining a distinguished reputation for his work in Renaissance, Baroque and 20th century music.

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Macmillan: Stabat Mater

Macmillan: Stabat Mater


 

Stabat Mater (plainsong)

MacMillan:

Stabat Mater

world premiere recording


Read our exclusive interviews with James MacMillan and Harry Christophers about the project.

Includes the world premiere recording of James MacMillan's Stabat Mater.

Few living composers communicate with the emotional directness of Sir James MacMillan, and performances of his new Stabat Mater are eagerly anticipated. The Sixteen gave the world premiere of this work at a series of concerts in October 2016 as well as recording the work for their own record label, CORO. For MacMillan, 'beauty is at the heart of our Christian faith' and the Stabat Mater is sure to be profoundly shaped by his beliefs. But this is a work with deep roots and a universal message, a celebration of both tradition and radical renewal.

“his Stabat Mater is both moving and original in its word-setting and especially in its creation of atmosphere” classicalsource.com, February 2017 ****

“It’s a devastatingly powerful evocation of Mary’s agony, balancing impassioned choral writing with equally intense, occasionally violent, work for the strings of the Britten Sinfonia...Wonderfully sung; profoundly moving.” The Guardian, 12th March 2017 ****

“There is deference to the power of plainsong in the chanted opening, the timelessness of which feeds into the sublime harmonic journey of the ensuing movements. MacMillan’s unfolding of the text and its instrumental halo are masterfully judged. I defy any atheist not to be moved by such a profound musical interpretation of religious belief.” The Scotsman, 10th April 2017 *****

“…without doubt the work's impact is immeasurably heightened by the exceptional performance it receives here…Christopher's adoration of MacMillan's Stabat Mater radiates out of every moment of this compelling performance…the Britten Sinfonia have tremendously incisve rhythmic bite.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2017

GGramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - May 2017

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Haydn: Symphonies Nos. 8 & 84 & Violin Concerto in A major

Haydn: Symphonies Nos. 8 & 84 & Violin Concerto in A major


Haydn:

Violin Concerto No. 3 in A major, Hob.VIIa:3 'Melker Konzert'

Aisslinn Nosky (violin)

Symphony No. 84 in E flat major

Symphony No. 8 in G major 'Le Soir'


In the third disc in their acclaimed series, Harry Christophers and the Handel and Haydn Society present a new live recording devoted to the master of the symphony – Joseph Haydn. This disc showcases Haydn’s Symphony No. 8 Le soir, which completes the trilogy written for Prince Paul Anton Esterházy. Also included is the later Symphony No. 84 which shows just how much Haydn’s symphonies had transformed from those early years. Not only is it an incredible fusion of grace, brilliance and warmth but it also contains one of the most striking wind band solos in all of his Paris symphonies. Completing the programme is the Violin Concerto in A major performed by H+H’s fiery and expressive Concertmaster, Aisslinn Nosky.

Handel and Haydn Society is America's oldest continuously operating arts organisation. Harry Christophers has been Artistic Director since 2008.

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The Sixteen sing Poulenc

The Sixteen sing Poulenc


Poulenc:

Mass in G major

Un soir de neige

Litanies à la Vierge noire

Quatre motets pour le temps de Noël

Quatre motets pour un temps de pénitence

Salve Regina

Ave verum corpus


Francis Poulenc is considered one of the greatest melodists of the 20th century but it is his individual and immediately recognisable harmonic language that makes his music so distinctive. Often overlooked in his lifetime and in the years after his death, his sacred music was an expression of his more serious side and, following the death of his close friend, Pierre-Octave Ferroud, a re-awakening of his religious faith. The Sixteen’s new recording centres round the themes of conflict and atonement, reflecting both Poulenc’s intense internal struggles and the turbulence of life in France during the mid-20th century.

“[In the Mass] the fullness of the choral sound is hard to beat and the rhythmically exhilarating Gloria is the stuff of dreams. This is sumptuous recording of flawless singing and intense music making.” Gramophone Magazine, April 2017

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Song of the Nativity

Song of the Nativity


Bullard, A:

And all the stars looked down

Chilcott:

Shepherd's Carol

Davies, Walford:

O Little Town of Bethlehem

Gardner, John:

When Christ was born of Mary free

Ireland:

The Holy Boy

Jackson, Gabriel:

The Christ-child

Lauridsen:

O magnum mysterium

MacMillan:

The Strathclyde Motets: O Radiant Dawn

McDowall:

Now may we singen, a carol for Christmas

Ord:

Adam lay ybounden

Roth, A:

Song of the Shepherds

Rutter:

There is a flower

Skempton:

Adam lay y-bounden

Todd:

My Lord Has Come

trad.:

The Saviour's Work

A Gallery Carol

Children's Song of the Nativity

Somerset Wassail

This endris night

Christmas Eve

Dutch Carol

Warlock:

Bethlehem Down


The Sixteen contrasts the dramatic intensity of music by some of today’s most admired composers with such traditional and modern carols as Boris Ord’s Adam lay ybounden and Henry Walford Davies’ version of O little town of Bethlehem. Much-loved modern classics including John Rutter’s There is a flower, Morten Lauridsen’s O magnum mysterium and James MacMillan’s O radiant dawn also appear on this beautiful album and there are many others which, in the course of time, will also become classics; every one of them by their unashamed simplicity, captures the joy and sincerity of this most wonderful of seasons. This album provides a perfect peaceful and uplifting antidote to the hectic pre-Christmas rush.

“From the gorgeously shaped performance of Morten Lauridsen’s modern classic O magnum mysterium which opens the programme, to the urgent, ardent account of James MacMillan’s O radiant dawn which closes it, The Sixteen give a masterclass in the art of unaccompanied singing, and in close emotional engagement with the pieces chosen” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2016 *****

BBC Music Magazine

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Coro - COR16146

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Edmund Rubbra: Choral Works

Edmund Rubbra: Choral Works


Rubbra:

Tenebrae Motets, Op. 72: First, Second & Third Nocturns

Missa Cantuariensis, Op. 59

Three Motets, Op. 76

Five Motets for unaccompanied choir, Op. 37


The distinctive style of Edmund Rubbra’s music is unmistakable – his love of counterpoint, his sense of tonality, and his clever working of melody make him stand out from many of his contemporaries. His writing, whilst harmonically challenging and vocally taxing, is also intensely personal and highly charged with emotion - at times mystical, at others seriously dramatic.

Though he is best-known for his orchestral works, choral music was a constant throughout his career, and a genre of particular importance to a composer of strong spiritual conviction.

In this beautiful new recording The Sixteen explores some of his little-known choral music including the extraordinary Tenebrae Nocturns and the Missa Cantuariensis with its fabulous double-choir writing.

This album also features the first recording of the Responses from the Missa Cantuariensis.

“Christophers and the Sixteen make a convincing case for a reappraisal of his choral music...Each piece is sung with the purity and sincerity we have come to expect from one of the UK’s most treasured and respected vocal ensembles.” The Observer, 11th September 2016 ****

“well-nigh flawless renderings from The Sixteen under Harry Christophers…high-class advocacy of some enormously rewarding repertoire” Classical Ear, October 2016 ****

“This is a disc which anybody remotely interested in Rubbra will want to purchase.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2016 ****

Coro - COR16144

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The Old Colony Collection

The Old Colony Collection


 

Hark! The vesper hymn is stealing

Avison:

Sound the loud timbrel

Chapple:

I waited patiently for the Lord

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord

O come, let us sing unto the Lord

Handel:

Messiah: He Was Cut Off Out of the Land...But Thou Didst Not Leave His Soul in Hell

Messiah: Lift up your heads

Israel in Egypt, HWV54: The Lord Shall Reign

Kent, J:

Hear my prayer

Who is this that cometh from Edom?

Linley the elder:

Bow down Thine ear, O Lord

Mendelssohn:

Peace I leave with you

Mozart:

Almighty God when round Thy shrine

Webbe, the older:

When winds breathe soft


Whilst the names James Kent, Charles Avison or Samuel Webbe may not be familiar to today’s listeners, 200 years ago these composers and their works were prized for their singability, their musical evocations of the text, and their beautiful sonorities. Rarely recorded, and some works never before recorded, The Old Colony Collection contains a diverse array of compositions that were sung on both sides of the Atlantic and includes anthems and ‘glees’ as well as selections from Handel’s oratorios, and arrangements of works by Mozart. The selection of works chosen for this recording features some of the finest examples from this fabulous and extensive anthology.

“Christophers draws a gold-standard execution from his choir.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2016 ****

“Kent’s Hear my prayer is an exquisite opener. Two solo sopranos duet with Pucellian poise over a colourful continuo…music by Handel, Mendelssohn and Mozart was also popular fodder for the society…[and] all are stylishly sung here – possibly inauthentically so, given the original society’s well-documented breaks for ‘tuning’ of the alcoholic variety” Gramophone Magazine, November 2016

Early Music

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Monteverdi: Messa a Quattro voci et salmi of 1650 Volume I

Monteverdi: Messa a Quattro voci et salmi of 1650 Volume I


Cavalli:

Magnificat

Monteverdi:

Dixit [Dominus] Primo

Confitebor tibi Domine, SV194

Lauda Jerusalem a 3, SV202

Nisi Dominus I à 3 voci & duoi violini

Laudate pueri Primo à 5 concertato

Laetaniae della Beata Vergine a 6 voci

Beatus vir a 7, SV195


Monteverdi’s sacred vocal compositions introduced the expression of powerful and personal emotions to the world of church music. Whilst it took him a number of years to find fulfilment in his work, Monteverdi was a revered composer within his lifetime and his music is regarded as revolutionary, marking the change from the Renaissance style to that of the Baroque. This album comprises some of the finest works from Monteverdi’s years as director of music at St Mark’s in Venice, published posthumously in 1650 as the Messa a quattro voci et salmi.

“The Sixteen’s performances have the group’s usual unfussy directness; the sound has no churchy over-resonance about it, either, so that the intricacies of the writing are always perfectly clear.” The Guardian, 24th March 2016 ***

“Ideal consort singing.” Sunday Times, 3rd April 2016

“The Sixteen’s complete recording of the Selva morale collection has been praised in these pages, and the qualities of ensemble are certainly worth noting here also. They are heard to best effect in the more richly scored pieces: the five-voice Laetatus sum and Laudate pueri, for example.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2016

Early Music

Coro - COR16142

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Haydn: Symphonies Nos. 7 & 83 & Violin Concerto in C major

Haydn: Symphonies Nos. 7 & 83 & Violin Concerto in C major


Haydn:

Symphony No. 7 in C major 'Le Midi'

Symphony No. 83 in G minor 'The Hen'

Violin Concerto No. 1 in C major, Hob.VIIa:1

Aisslinn Nosky (violin)


In a programme packed full of great drama and theatricality, Harry Christophers and the Handel and Haydn Society present a new live recording devoted to the master of the symphony. This disc showcases Haydn’s Symphony No. 7 Le midi which is amongst the most striking of his early symphonies and one of the very first the composer wrote as Kapellmeister to Prince Paul Anton Esterházy. It is set alongside the much later Paris Symphony No. 83 La poule, named as such because of its famous clucking dotted note motif. Completing the programme is the Violin Concerto in C major performed by H+H’s fiery and expressive Concertmaster, Aisslinn Nosky.

“This series, recorded live, is showing us that Haydn’s early symphonies are as daring and fresh in their own way as the latest. No 7 (1761) is a fine instance, with concertante roles for three string soloists. It and the pleasing C major violin concerto highlight Nosky’s elegant playing. Haydn’s art had evolved much by the time of ”La Poule” (No 83), deftly dashing in this reading.” Sunday Times, 24/01/2016

“[the Paris Symphony No. 83 is] a marvellously intense piece, and it gets a no-holds barred performance from Harry Christophers and the Handel and Haydn Society orchestra. They bring a fine sense of hushed expressiveness to the slow movement, too…its minor-tinged ending is lingeringly evocative” BBC Music Magazine, May 2016 ****

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The Deer’s Cry: The Sixteen sing Pärt, Byrd & Tallis

The Deer’s Cry: The Sixteen sing Pärt, Byrd & Tallis


 

Miserere nostri

Tallis / Byrd

Byrd:

Diliges Dominum

Christe qui Lux

Miserere mihi, Domini

Tribue, Domine

Emendemus in melius

O Lux beata Trinitas

Ad Dominum cum tribularer

Laetentur coeli

Pärt:

The Deer's Cry

Nunc dimittis

The Woman With The Alabaster Box

Tallis:

When Jesus went into Simon the Pharisee's house


Whilst coming from very different eras, William Byrd and Arvo Pärt are both considered masters of sacred music despite having faced considerable persecution for their work. This programme presents six of William Byrd’s works from the Cantiones Sacrae including the monumental Tribue, Domine, and the mighty eight-voice motet Ad Dominum cum tribularer. The three works by Arvo Pärt speak in his unmistakable voice, with its unique blend of ancient and modern, and include his mesmerising Nunc dimittis which is crafted in his bell-like ‘tinitinnabuli’ style.

“It’s fascinating to compare Tallis and Pärt’s different but complementary treatments of the Woman with the Alabaster Box parable. Music and singing of hypnotic beauty.” Sunday Times, 31st January 2016

“The Sixteen perform music of composers born four centuries apart, both persecuted for their religious faith...In each case their choral writing has a simplicity and intensity, perfectly suited to the blended sound of the Sixteen.” The Guardian, 31st January 2016

“Those favouring sonic beauty above all else will find 'The Deer's Cry' an essential addition. Larger forces and fuller voices give The Sixteen a textural depth Stile Antico and The Tallis Scholars neither seek nor attain, thickening the sound without obscuring the architectural workings of these complex pieces of polyphony...it's hard to wish greater restraint of such glorious singing.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2016

“[The Deer's Cry] is a deceptively easy-looking piece on the page, but keeping its halting, minimalist ground-rhythm pulsing meaningfully, and building the slow-burn crescendo over several minutes requires advanced levels of technical proficiency. That, of course, is what The Sixteen majors in, and its performance combines a scrupulous accuracy with a pregnant sense of ritual and contemplative mystery” BBC Music Magazine, April 2016 ****

Presto Discs of 2016

Finalist

Early Music

Coro - COR16140

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The Complete Traditional Christmas Carols Collection

The Complete Traditional Christmas Carols Collection

Volumes 1 & 2


Darke:

In the Bleak Midwinter

Gauntlett:

Once in Royal David's city

Goss, J:

See amid the winter's snow

Gruber, F:

Silent Night

Holst:

In the Bleak Mid-winter (Cranham)

Kirkpatrick:

Away in a Manger

Kocher:

As with gladness men of old

Mendelssohn:

Hark! the herald angels sing

Ord:

Adam lay ybounden

Poston:

Jesus Christ the Apple Tree

trad.:

The First Nowell

Sussex Carol

While Shepherds Watched

I saw three ships

Angels from the Realms Of Glory

O little town of Bethlehem

Rocking

In Dulci Jubilo

Ding dong! merrily on high

Good King Wenceslas

Deck the Hall

The Holly and the Ivy

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen

Coventry Carol

Of the Father's heart begotten

This is the truth sent from above

Gabriel’s Message

Masters in this Hall

Past Three a Clock

Gloucester Wassail (Wassail, wassail all over the town)

In Dulci Jubilo

O come, o come, Emmanuel

Cherry Tree Carol

It came upon the midnight clear

Personent hodie

Down in yon Forest

Wexford Carol

Joys seven

Unto Us a Boy is Born!

Vaughan Williams:

Wither's rocking hymn

Wade, J F:

O come, all ye faithful


Due to popular demand, CORO has packaged The Sixteen’s two most popular Christmas titles into one double CD set. The ensemble’s Traditional Christmas Carol Collections Volumes I and II feature some of our best-known and best-loved Christmas carols in arrangements with traditional harmonies and original words. Favourites include In the bleak midwinter, Silent night and See amid the winter’s snow. There is also an abundance of festive music that deserves to be better known and The Sixteen includes some rediscovered treasures in this collection such as Masters in this Hall, Past three a clock and Gloucestershire Wassail.

“If you really want to listen to carols at home or in the gym, you won’t go wrong with these pristine performances.” Financial Times, 4th December 2010 ***

“beautiful with a capital B.” The Times, 17th December 2010

“Simple, sincere and thoroughly engaging.” American Record Guide

“The Sixteen sounds as crisp and refreshing as a frosty morning...A wide and interesting choice of festive favourites, performed with precise, unsentimental warmth and a sense of occasion.” Classic FM Magazine, January 2011 ****

Early Music

Coro - COR16136

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